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Illinois Expands Workers' Compensation Protection for Front Line Workers Exposed to COVID-19

On June 5, 2020, Governor J. B. Pritzker signed HB 2455. This law provides protection for "essential workers" who are exposed to and are diagnosed with COVID-19. Typically, workers hold the burden of proving that they are entitled to Illinois Workers' Compensation benefits. This new law creates a rebuttable presumption that essential workers diagnosed with COVID-19 are entitled to Illinois Workers' Compensation benefits. The rebuttable presumption applies when there is a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 made by a licensed medical doctor on or after March 9, 2020. In cases diagnosed on or after June 16, 2020, the worker must provide a positive lab test.

Who Qualifies for the "Rebuttable Presumption"?

The presumption of workers' compensation coverage applies to all COVID-19 first responders or front-line workers. This includes:

  • healthcare workers,
  • firefighters,
  • paramedics and
  • law enforcement.

Additionally, it also applies to employees of essential businesses who encounter members of the public or work in locations with 15 or more people. This includes employees of the following businesses:

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Remember, report all work injuries. Seek treatment for your injuries. Seek treatment with your own doctor.

In the last blog, “Report work-related accidents,” we discussed how the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act provides the only remedy against your department for on the job injuries and how important it is to report your work injuries, no matter how minor, in a timely manner. If you have suffered a work injury, you have a right to seek medical treatment for that injury — with your own doctor — at your department's expense.

Your department cannot control your medical treatment or direct where you can go to get the medical treatment you need because of your work injury. You do not have to go to the company clinic for treatment. You have the right to choose to treat with your own doctor free from any influence of a "company" doctor. That may be your family doctor, a specialist, a chiropractor, or any other medical provider that you choose.

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Don't Wait! Report ALL Work-Related Accidents in a Timely Manner!

The Illinois Workers' Compensation Act provides the only remedy against your department for on the job injuries. There are several steps that injured workers must take to protect the important rights that the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act provides. The first step all injured employees must take is to report their work-related accidents.

Report your work-related accidents as soon as possible. Report it to your supervisor. Illinois law allows injury reporting to be either verbal or written. While the Illinois Workers' Compensation Act allows you up to 45 days to report an accident, don't wait that long! The longer you wait, the more likely it will be that your department will use that delay as a defense against you, claiming that you must have hurt yourself somewhere other than at work. This is especially true for injuries that happen at the end of shifts or before long weekends or vacations. If you first report your injury when you get back, guess when and where your department is going to claim your injury happened! Don't give them that defense.

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Posted on in First Responders

Jay Johnson invited to speak at the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Board of Trustees meeting

Woodruff Johnson and Evans Law Office partner Jay Johnson was honored to be invited to introduce himself to the board members of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police during the Board of Trustees meeting and Christmas lunch on December 12, 2019 in Springfield, Illinois.

The Firm for Injured Law Enforcement

As a society, we rely on the dedication and hard work of law enforcement for our safety. The daily duties of first responders often lead to dangerous situations, which can lead to injuries. The attorneys at Woodruff Johnson & Evans Law Offices have aggressively fought for the rights of injured officers and their families throughout the state of Illinois for over 25 years. Our firm is the proud recipient of the Blue and Gold Award for generosity and support to the ILFOP. Woodruff Johnson & Evans Law Office is proud to be a firm recommended to handle injured police officers' workers' compensation claims.

Injured Officers and Workers' Compensation

Our attorneys often are invited to make presentations at lodge meeting regarding injured first responders workers' compensation rights. If you are interested in having us speak at your next lodge meeting (completely free of charge), please visit our website to fill out our contact form or call toll free 630-585-2320 to speak with our marketing director Vickie Douglas. Also, remember that we offer free, confidential consultations if you've been injured at work regardless of where you work. Contact us today.

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July 4th is Independence Day. A day we celebrate the freedom we all enjoy in this country. It's a time for picnics, cookouts, fireworks, parades, and spending time with our family and friends. It can also be a very dangerous day.

Many of us will hit the roads in our vehicles to travel both near and far for these Independence Day celebrations. With lower gas prices, even more of us will be on the roads. Our first responders will also be on these roads, risking injury and sometimes death to help and protect us as we travel. When we see first responders assisting motorist on the side of the road, we need to slow down and move over. Allow them the space they need to safely do their jobs. We need to obey "Scott's Law."

Scott's Law exist to protect first responders who are attending to traffic stops or helping others along the side of roads. Scott's Law, Illinois' move over law, is named after Chicago firefighter Lieutenant Scott Gillen. Lt. Gillen died on December 23, 2000, while responding to a traffic accident. A drunk driver failed to move over despite the flashing lights of emergency vehicles assisting at a crash site that Lt. Gillen was working. This drunk driver struck and killed Lt. Gillen.

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